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Riding and Training

10 Tips for Trailer Training Success

Teaching your horse to load into a trailer is a valuable training tool. Photo by Shoshana Rudski

Here are 10 tips about how to safely load your horse into a trailer:

    1. Be safe: Wear gloves, boots,
      and helmet.
    2. Protect your horse’s legs during training with standing wraps or shipping boots. Use a head bumper if your horse elevates his head when he enters the trailer.
    3. Choose a suitable environment: Use a trailer that is safe, well ventilated, brightly lit, and appropriately sized for your horse. Put hay and treats in the trailer while you’re training (hauling, too).
    4. Train in a quiet location with no distractions.
    5. Choose a time when your horse’s demeanor is calm.
    6. Practice excellent horsemanship skills: Breathe deeply to release tension. Let go of expectations. Interact with your horse in a quiet manner.
    7. Communicate clearly: Begin with the lightest amount pressure. Release the pressure completely the moment your horse responds correctly.
    8. Reinforce your horse with rewards such as wither scratches, treats, going for a walk, or a chance to graze.
    9. Short sessions will prevent cognitive overload. Take steps to reduce stress that triggers fight or flight mode and prevents your horse from learning or processing new information.
    10. End each trailer loading session on a positive note.

Read on for more in-depth information on training your horse to reliably load on the trailer >>

DALE RUDIN is a CHA-certified riding instructor and clinician with a mindful and balanced approach to horsemanship and riding.

This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of Horse Illustrated magazine. Click here to subscribe!

Dale Rudin

Dale Rudin is a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA)-certified riding instructor, welfare-centered trainer, rehabilitation specialist, saddle fitter, and certified equine nutritionist. She is a founding member of Force-Free Tennessee, an animal advocacy organization that promotes humane, low-stress training and handling of all animals. Dale's No. 1 goal is to create joyful experiences for horses and the people who love and care for them. She uses compassionate, reinforcement-based training methods that reduce stress and benefit the horse both emotionally and physically, and specializes in restoring health and wellness to horses with mild to severe physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. Dale offers instruction and consultations in person and online. She accepts horses for training and rehab at her farm, Lyric Valley Ranch in Santa Fe, Tenn., which is also the home of Pure Joy Horse Haven, a sanctuary for traumatized and abused horses (

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